Each day witnesses something new which quietly slips into the folds of history with the setting Sun. If History was to open its chapters, each day would unfold a series of events that made it “The Day”.
This Month in History is a small section that takes us down the corridors of World History and recalls the events that took place world over in a span of a month. It covers birthdays, wars, inventions, discoveries, feats, education and art — all that can possibly come together under one roof and is spread over centuries.
This quick recap of historical events is a rendezvous with the past. So get set for a roller coaster ride down memory lane!


January, from the Latin word lanuarius, is named after the latin word for door (ianua), since January is the door to the year and an opening to new beginnings. The month is conventionally thought of as being named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology. It has a total of 31 days. The first day of the month is known as New Year’s Day. It is the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the warmest month of the year in the Southern Hemisphere.

January 1

In 1776, during the American Revolution, George Washington unveiled the Grand Union Flag, the first national flag in America.

In 1801, Ireland was added to Great Britain by an Act of Union thus creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

In 1877, Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

In 1942, twenty-six countries signed the Declaration of the United Nations, in Washington, D.C., reaffirming their opposition to the Axis powers and confirming that no single nation would make a separate peace.

In 1958, the EEC (European Economic Community) known as the Common Market was formed by Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands in order to remove trade barriers and coordinate trade policies.

In 1973, Britain, Ireland and Denmark became members of the Common Market (EEC).

In 1854, Indian Physicist Satyendra Nath Bose, known for his work on quantum mechanics, was born.

January 3

In 1496, Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tested a flying machine.

In 1888, Marvin C. Stone patents the drinking straw.

In 1924, English explorer Howard Carter discovers the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings.

In 1951, Mel Gibson (actor and director) was born. 

January 4

In 1847, Samuel Colt sold his first revolver pistol to the United States government.

In 1994, music director Rahul Dev Burman passed away.

In 2004, Spirit, a NASA Mars Rover, landed successfully on Mars.

In 2010, The Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest building was opened.

The day marks the birthday of Sir Isaac Newton (Scientist – 1643) and Louis Braille (Inventor of touch reading system for blind-1809). Blinded as a boy, he later invented a reading system for the blind using punch marks in paper.

January 6

In 1838, Samuel Morse first successfully tested the electrical telegraph.

In 1907, Maria Montessori opened her first school and day care centre.

In 1971, famous Indian magician P C Sorkar passed away.

In 1412, Joan of Arc, French Heroine and Catholic Saint, was born.

January 8

Birthday of Elvis Presley (Rock Singer and Actor – 1935) and Stephen Hawking (Scientist and Author – 1942).

January 10

In 1863, the world’s first underground railway service opened in London, the Metropolitan line between Paddington and Farringdon.

In 1912, the flying boat airplane, invented by Glenn Curtiss, made its first flight at Hammondsport, New York.

In 1920, The League of Nations officially came into existence with the goal of resolving international disputes, reducing armaments, and preventing future wars.

January 11

In 1693, Mt. Etna erupted and there was an earthquake in Sicily, Italy.

In 1908, the Grand Canyon National Monument was created.

In 1922, insulin was used to treat diabetes in a human patient for the first time.

In 1935, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo from Hawaii to California.

In 1973, Birthday of Indian Cricketer Rahul Dravid.

January 15

In 1891, Basketball was invented by James Naismith.

In 1943, The Pentagon, the world’s largest office building, opened.

January 16

In 1909, The magnetic South Pole was found.

In 1991, The war against Iraq began as Allied aircraft conducted a major raid against Iraqi air defences. The air raid on Baghdad was broadcast live to a global audience by CNN correspondents as operation Desert Shield became Desert Storm.

In 1992, The twelve-year civil war in El Salvador ended with the signing of a peace treaty in Mexico City. The conflict had claimed over 75,000 lives.

January 17

In 1773, Captain James Cook became the first explorer to cross the Antarctic Circle.

In 1945, during World War II, Warsaw, Poland, was liberated by Soviet Russian troops.

In 1966, a hydrogen bomb accident occurred over Palomares, Spain, as an American B-52 jet collided with its refuelling plane. Eight crewmen were killed and the bomber then released its H-bomb into the Atlantic.

In 1706, Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was considered the Elder Statesman of the American Revolution. He was a printer, author, publisher, philosopher, scientist, diplomat and philanthropist. He signed both the Declaration of Independence and the new U.S. Constitution.

In 1820, Anne Bronte, author, was born.

In 1942, Muhammad Ali, the great boxing champion, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, as Cassius Clay. 

January 19

In 1955, the Scrabble board game was invented.

In 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India in succession to Lal Shastri who had died eight days earlier. She served until 1975 and later from 1980 to 1984.

In 1736, inventor James Watt was born.

In 1809, Edgar Allen Poe, poet and writer of mystery and suspense tales, was born in Boston, Massachusetts.

January 20

In 1885, the roller coaster was invented by L.A. Thompson.

In 1961, John F. Kennedy became the 35th US President.

In 1969, the first pulsar was discovered, in the Crab Nebula.

In 1981, Ronald W. Reagan became the 40th US President.

In 1981, Iran released 52 American hostages.

In 1986, Martin Luther King, Jr., day was celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.

In 1996, Yasir Arafat became the first democratically-elected leader of the Palestinian people with 88.1 percent of the vote. 

January 21

In 1924, Soviet Russian leader Vladimir Lenin died of a brain haemorrhage. He led the Bolsheviks to victory over the Czar in the October Revolution of 1917 and had then established the world’s first Communist government.

In 1945, Indian Revolutionary Rash Behari Bose died.

In 1954, The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, was launched at Groton, Connecticut. 

January 22

In 1849, the siege of Multan ended in the Second Anglo Sikh war which was fought between the Sikh rulers and the East India Company.

In 1901, Queen Victoria of England died after reigning for 64 years, the longest reign in British history, during which England had become the most powerful empire in the world.

In 1905, five hundred protesting Russian workers were killed by the troops of Czar Nicholas II in St. Petersburg. The event became known as “Bloody Sunday” and marked the beginning of the violent revolutionary movement of 1905 which ultimately failed.

Birthdays of British essayist, philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon (1561) and poet Lord Byron (1788).

January 25

In 1881, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell formed the Oriental Telephone Company.

In 1890, Nellie Bly completes her round-the-world journey in 72 days.

In 1919, The League of Nations is founded.

In 1971, Himachal Pradesh, the 18th state of India was created.

The day marks the birthdays of Robert Boyle (Scientist) in 1627, Robert Burns (Poet) in 1759 and Virginia Woolf (Author) in 1882. 

January 26

In 1841, The United Kingdom formally occupies Hong Kong.

In 1943, Nazis began using Hitler Youths to operate anti-aircraft batteries in Germany following heavy Allied bombing of Berlin and other cities.

In 1950, India became a Republic. Exactly twenty years before this, in 1930, a resolution for Purna Swaraj was passed by the Indian National Congress.

In 1994, Romania became the first former Cold War foe to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

January 29

In 1595, Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ was first performed.
In 1856, Queen Victoria instituted the Victoria Cross.

In 1860, Russian playwright Anton Chekhov was born in Taganrog, Russia. It is also the birthday of Oprah Winfrey (TV Talk Show Host) who was born in 1954. 

January 30

In 1862, the first American ironclad warship, the USS Monitor was launched.

In 1933, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

In 1948, Indian Freedom Struggle leader Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was assassinated.
In 1994, Peter Leko became the youngest grand master in chess.

Birthdays of singer Phil Collins (1951) and Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882), the 32nd U.S. President who was born in Hyde Park, New York.

January 31

In 1943, German troops surrendered at Stalingrad, marking the first big defeat of Hitler’s armies in World War II. During the Battle of Stalingrad, 160,000 Germans were killed and 90,000 taken prisoner.

In 1990, the first McDonald’s opens in Moscow, Russia.

In 1981, Justin Timberlake (Singer) was born.

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